Tuesday, November 3, 2015

31 Miles in 31 Days - Results

So, at the beginning of the month I boldly laid out my plans to run 31 miles in 31 days. The plan was not to kill myself with a super intense, boot camp-esque approach to rocket myself into shape; rather, the goal was just to try to consistently run a couple miles every few days in order to start getting used to running again and begin to get back into shape.

Since I picked 31 miles as a reasonable and achievable number, it should be no surprise that I successfully met my goal. Well- actually, I am kind of surprised. I usually don't quite achieve my running goals and tend to wimp out of a couple runs or trim a few miles off of every training plan. (See this post on my failed training for the last marathon.) This time I did it - I ran 3 miles a day, for 2 or 3 days a week, consistently all month long for a grand total of 31 miles. (Technically, it was a grand total of 30.6 miles, but we round in this family.)

compared to the dotted line (which represents running 1 mile per day), I was pretty close.

The first thing I noticed was that every day it got a little easier to get started. There are so many really small hurdles to getting started, but I managed to eliminate them one-by-one. I started out each week by putting appointments to run on my calendar, and then scheduling other things around those appointments. When the reminders popped up, it was easier to just get up and go - knowing that I had given myself enough time to run, shower, and get back to my desk. Each time I ran, I would realize that I'd forgotten to bring something - glasses, headphones, whatever - and then I would remember to bring in the missing item the next day. So slowly over the course of the month, I eventually had all the gear I needed, where I needed it. Eliminating little hurdles made it easier to just get out the door and get started.

Then I noticed I was getting faster and stronger, so running was less miserable. The first time I ran, I allowed myself to go as slow as I needed to finish the 3 mile loop. Then, every day after that, I tried to walk a little less and finish a little sooner than the time before. When I could easily run past a spot where I previously needed to stop and walk - it was an awesome boost of confidence (even if I just stopped to walk a little further down the road). Sure enough, my total time to complete the distance started dropping as I walked less and less - going from an average of almost 16-minute miles down to 13-minute miles. (I'm still really slow, but that's a huge improvement). I also managed to throw in 2 yoga classes during the month, which I assumes helps with strength and flexibility and whatnot. Over the month, I also noticed that I got less winded climbing stairs and doing other exercise - which means I'm getting stronger too.

the more I ran- the faster I got. 

While the goal was really just to get moving, and hopefully to get a bit faster - I also kind of hoped to lose some weight while I was at it. Sure enough, as I covered more mileage and got faster, I started losing weight too. I'm down 3 pounds since the beginning of the month, and my pants seem to fit better. I'm also down 2% body fat, which seems like a good thing.

I still have a long way to get to get back into shape - but I'm pretty happy with my results. Clearly, setting concrete goals for myself that are both ambitious and achievable works for me. 1 month was the perfect timeline - long enough to create a new habit and see results, but short enough to stay motivated.

So, new goals for November:

  • Run 40 miles (10 miles per week)
  • Focus on speed, try to get to 11.5 minutes per mile
  • Go to at least one weights/yoga class per week

So - the question everyone is asking - what is my current running spirit animal? Well, I'm not quite a gazelle yet, but I'm no hungry hungry hippo either. After much consideration - I think my current spirit animal is a city bus. I can pick up some speed and have some power, but I never get moving all that fast and have to make several stops. Fingers crossed - maybe I'll be a greyhound or even a chinatown bus someday!!